3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2009

Jack Schreiber has more than 35 years of corporate banking experience. He assumed the role of president of Commerce Bank’s St. Louis region in 2000 and became the chief operating officer and market manager of the region in 2004. His responsibilities include building Commerce Bank’s corporate and consumer base of businesses. Schreiber previously served as president of First Bank for eight years.

Q. What role does a bank play in assisting businesses in a down economy?

A banker really can be very supportive to a company in helping them prepare financial or cash flow projections. You want to make sure that a company’s capital needs and really their cash needs requirements are going to sustain them through a down cycle. Since stress testing is sort of a buzzword today with the banks in terms of how the banks are managing themselves, I think the same thing applies to companies, where they ought to take a look at what is the best scenario, what is a reasonable scenario and really what is the downside.

Q. What questions should a business ask its bank to make sure its plan is financially strong?

Businesses rely maybe too heavily at times on sort of earning their way out of problems by focusing on limiting their plan to, ‘We’re going to increase revenues, and by increasing revenues, we’re going to earn our way out of this situation.’ Clearly a major component of any financial plan is revenue generation and increasing revenues, but the question is, if those revenues don’t materialize, has the company looked at all other aspects of their business to make sure that they can survive?

Q. What are ways a company can work with its bank to save money and become more efficient?

It’s always a good idea to periodically sit down with your banker just to make sure that you’re reviewing all of the different products and services that are being used. It’s not unusual where products or services that have been used in the past are either no longer needed or not as efficient as new products that have been created.